The High Court has ruled on what constitutes a tree. A developer wished to carry out preparatory works including the clearance of scrub and saplings to enable access to be gained to land where a site survey was needed. The land was the subject of a woodland Tree Preservation Order (TPO). The Council refused consent under the TPO, despite the developer claiming that saplings were not trees.

The court found that there is no statutory definition of a tree and concluded that there are no limitations on the size of trees for the purposes of a TPO. Therefore saplings, even those which were not in existence at the date of the TPO, are trees protected by the order.

Comment – is there anything too small to constitute a sapling...?